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Manava Beach Resort & Spa - Moorea
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Reviewed 10 May 2008

We spent six nights at the Moorea Pearl in January. The location is great, close to town, and right on the edge of the reef. My husband and I stayed in an overwater bungalow, and our in-laws in a beach bungalow. Since our OW was not the "Premium" we were not directly on the edge of the reef, but since there's an entry point less than fifty feet away, it was not a problem. We had a gorgeous view of the mountains from our deck...breathtaking!! Also, room kept super clean, wonderful bathtub with oils, lotions, etc. One tip...bring your own 4-cup coffee filter packs they usually give in U.S. hotels. Then, put one in the coffee pot w/water and voila, real coffee. Don't fill completely full or it will overflow. The coffee they have here is not very good, but a little pre-planning saved us.
We purchased a hotel package with the breakfast/dinner meal plan. There was a buffet every morning with lots of fresh fruits, omelets, pastries, and much more. Wed and Sat. night meals are buffets also. That left lunch to try out other venues, and you find out pretty quickly just how expensive everything is.
My in-laws are vegan(no meat/milk/eggs), but once we conveyed that to our waitresses, they let them choose their foods from the menu. They actually were able to eat like royalty. I was amazed at the amount of food they received with no complaints from the staff; if anything, there was just a little problem with language translation.
It rained off and on for several days of our trip which put a damper on the excursions we wanted to take. Once the weather cleared, the stingray/shark feeding tour wasn't offered on our last day. We spoke with the excursion lady, and she set up a trip to a private Motu where we snorkeled, had a fabulous homecooked meal of MahiMahi, shrimp, salads, etc., then our own visit with the rays and sharks. TOO COOL!!
All in all, a fabulous trip...even with the rain. We found ourselves more relaxed, enjoying quiet time in the bungalow listening to the wind and rain...Iwannagoback!

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
1  Thank luvsnorklng
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 May 2008

well... based on all the reviews on this site, which we pour over incessantly, analysing every nuance and innuendo before making any trip, we decided on the Moorea Pearl for our visit to Moorea Island.

The Pearl.
Again based on the reviews we opted for a premium OWB and it is the best tip we could have got.. completely worth it. The std OWB's are in very shallow murky water with no sea life and most look back toward the beach and resort, whilst the premium OWB's are beautifully situated on the edge of the reef and 15-20 ft of crystal clear Pacific ocean.. well lagoon. Request the bungalows on the left side of the resort, 401-410 as these face due west and have the best sunsets. The snorkelling is the best I have ever experienced including the Barrier Reef, it was simply breathtaking.. turtles, octopus and heaps of stunning tropical fish.
The rooms are very nicely, traditionally appointed with good a/c, LCD TV & DVD player. If you only speak English, you will tire of CNN and it might be an idea to take a few of your favourite DVD's with you.

The Resort:
The Pearl is not an international resort and has none of the feel or class of an international chain like the Sofitel or Sheraton. It is run by a few French guys and as such the vast majority of guests are French
The Pearl is actually pretty small, with few amenities away from the water. No gym, or tennis or anything really to distract you if you tire of the snorkelling, or if it rains. which may well not ever happen. A small issue we faced was an absence of available snorkelling gear..ie. you go up to the pool area and ask for some snorkelling gear and the answer is.. sorry we dont have any.... what do you mean? this is the most endearing feature of this resort and you dont have any? well apparently, a lot of gear ends up going home with the guests and the resort management are sick of replacing it.. TIP. Take your own gear!! Well at least goggles, they seemed to have heaps of flippers.

The Traditional Dance evening.. as others on here have mentioned.. dont bother with the dinner package at a ridiculous 7,900 PXF per head for what is a pretty average buffet.. just have a few drinks in the bar and watch the show for free.

Staff- On the whole, the service we received was slightly disappointingly adequate for this standard and price of resort, this was most evident around the restaurant, it just seemed that a good few of the girls/women were just tired of their jobs and tired of dealing with people. Having said that there were a few staff members who were genuinely lovely and friendly.
NB. The "Premium" restaurant was not open during our stay.

Out & About.
We opted for a B&B package so ate out every night. Our restaurant recommendations around Maharepa are:
Te Honu Iti - awesome Shrimp in Coconut Curry. Apple Tart also stunning.
Rudy's - awesome beef bourguignon, and the best French Onion soup.
Kaveka - a cheaper alternative, but still good food,
all of the above will collect you from the Pearl, reception will make the reservation for you and organise transport etc.

Albert's car rental across the road is good and handy. The island is only 60km's in circumference, so you really only need the 4 hour rental just to get around it with time for stops and photo's, however if you go for the 24 hour package you can head further afield for dinner. Would recommend Hauru as a lovely area where there are some great restaurant's including Les Tipaniers.

If your still tossing up which resort to stay at, from our research and in our experience of visiting them all while we were there, we would suggest the following:
Moorea Pearl - if its all about the snorkelling. definitely the best on the whole island.
Sheraton - if you are looking for more of a buzzy international resort feel with a broad array of facilities.
Sofitel - a classier, more exclusive resort. although it does face the east, so no sunsets! However it does have the nicest beach on the island.
Intercontinental - Huge sprawling resort, lacking a natural feel, it seemed very man made, if that makes sense. Superb dolphin experience here though.

If we had our time again, we would have selected the Sheraton.

Final word of warning. French Polynesia is horrendously expensive, unjustifiably so really. Dont be thinking that your investment stops at airfare and premium OWB. Stock up on duty free booze and have your mini bar emptied on arrival so you can use the fridge for your shopping.

I know the above sounds a tad negative, but overall we did thoroughly enjoy our visit to the Moorea Pearl and French Polynesia. But if we had our time again and our nearly $10k back for the 8 day trip, we would have gone somewhere different.

Final PS. if you are overnighting in Papeete and looking for a great restaurant, then go to L'o a la bouche. It was the best meal we had while away, is apparently THE PLACE to be seen in Papeete and not that pricey at all..

bon chance..

Stayed: May 2008
6  Thank Paul-Caz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 May 2008

My partner and I just spent 3 nights at the Pearl in Moorea followed by 4 nights at the Hotel Bora Bora in Bora Bora. We stayed in a Premium Overwater Bungalow at the Pearl.

Our room was lovely. The backdrop behind the hotel is also lovely. However, given the price point for the room (~$1,000 USD per night) we were quite disappointed.

Best things about the property:

- Well appointed rooms
- Close to the airport
- Lovely backdrop behind the hotel + easy access to snorkeling

Issues with the property:

- Rooms are very close together
- Beach area is unattractive and the inner lagoon area looked like a cess pool (very cloudy and water was dirty)
- Service is bad (this is endemic in French Polynesia but we felt it was worse at this property), i.e., unattentive and forgetful

Moorea is also less attractive than Bora Bora (not an issue with the property but far better locations can be had at $1,000 USD per night).

Sorry to rain on the parade for this one. We were not impressed.

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
3  Thank Japan_Gaijin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 May 2008

My Husband and I just returned from a 10-day honeymoon in French Polynesia (April 19th - 29th). We spent 5 nights in Moorea, stayed at the Moorea Pearl Resort and Spa in a Garden Bungalow and the other 5 nights in Bora Bora at the Starwood resort Bora Bora Nui in a Over Water Bungalow (OWB). We enjoyed both islands, we liked Bora Bora better (definitely recommend doing Moorea first then Bora Bora, so it's not overshadowed) but both islands had their own character. We also liked our resort better in Bora Bora, which makes a difference. The waters were crystal clear blue in Bora Bora. In Moorea, the water is clear but not as blue. If you want to save money but want to do OWB, do it at Bora Bora instead of Moorea.

LOCATION:
The location of the Pearl is great. Not a far drive from the airport, walking distance to a grocery store and town. Great snorkeling right a the resort.

OUR BUNGALOW:
We had Garden Bungalow 211. The rooms at the Pearl are excellent. Nice decor, clean, simple. We thought it spacious, plenty of room for us. The Garden Bungalows come with a private plunge pool, which is what sold me on the resort. Our room felt private, away from the pool and the bar, which was nice. You share one wall with an adjacent garden bungalow. We only heard our neighbors once, they had friends in their room and they were talking loudly late into the night. The row of garden bungalows 209 - 214, is located adjacent to the east side of the resort's property edge. There are residences on the other side of the property wall. Unfortunately the residence right next door to us had two barking dogs and a rooster. The dogs didn't bark at night thankfully, but did bark during the day upsetting your quiet reading time on the patio. The rooster story I guess is very common, there are roosters all over the islands of FP. At sunrise, you can hear roosters everywhere crooning away for about 40 minutes. It was unfortunate that our neighbor's rooster felt like it was right outside our front door. We asked the resort about moving more inside the resort and they did offer us another room which was directly next to the bar and we declined. We preferred the natural sounds rather than all the people noises. Plus, we were growing accustomed to the rooster after 3 nights.

SNORKELING and Sea Life at the Resort:
We only went once late in the afternoon, visibility was good but not awesome. Saw lots of cool fish. I only regret not going again when the visibility was better. Since we didn't have an OWB, the convenience factor wasn't there as much ... but I should have made an effort to go out again. We saw more stuff just standing and looking at the water than snorkeling. We saw a decent sized ray, lots of fish, and 3 octopuses.

FOOD/RESTAURANT:
We had both breakfasts and dinners included in our package and we were very happy. Breakfast buffet was good, they had a omelet station, croissants (including chocolate), fresh fruit, etc. We did think the buffet was better at Bora Bora (more selection, the baked goods were fresher) but we were happy with the Pearl. The restaurant was adjacent to the infinity pool with views of the OWBs and ocean, very tranquil, we would just sit and drink our coffee/tea and relax.

We really enjoyed our regular plated dinners at the Pearl. Since it was included in our package, we were able to each get an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert. We were pleased with our food, we loved all of our dishes we got, so happy we had dinner included, the food was well worth what we got and very convenient. We did go off one night to Alfredo's (by they way, Ron retired, so he is no longer performing). The food was good but so expensive at other restaurants, so it was nice having it included at the Pearl, especially since we liked the food.

Dinner Buffet was so-so for us. Saturday night was the seafood buffet and Wednesday night is the Polynesian Buffet. Both dinners included a polynesian dance show. We would definitely skip the seafood buffet if we returned. The seafood wasn't that great and didn't seem that fresh either. The polynesian buffet was pretty good, the dance show afterward was much better. than on Saturday. If you had the meal plan that includes dinner and wanted to try another restaurant elsewhere on the island, do it on buffet night (unless you want to see the show of course). Reservations on those nights are a must, you get better seats that way. And both nights were packed and will probably be busier during the high season (End of May - Sept).

As a side note, the nights that weren't the buffet for dinner, the restaurant was pretty empty. I think most hotel guest don't have dinners included so they did other things.

SERVICE:
This is the one area we felt the Pearl needed work on. Our checkin was great. Got drinks, got a personal tour to our room. Our bags were brought to our room for us, it was excellent. However, the Tahitian hostesses at the restaurant seemed indifferent, didn't really seem like they wanted to be helping you. At first, I was pretty frustrated after a couple of days. Then I realized it was more of a language barrier and cultural difference we were dealing with. We eventually just accepted that if we needed something out of the ordinary (other than more coffee or towels), we needed to flag down the English speaking staff to get it. I was however disappointed that the even the front desk person could not speak English at all. We returned from dinner and asked the woman about the dogs and the rooster and she didn't understand us. I think we eventually were able to communicate it to her what we were saying but she didn't really offer any solutions (i.e. like changing rooms) ... that was frustrating ... but the next day we found the manager that had shown us around and talked to him instead and he was responsive immediately.

RESORT FACILITIES:
Overall the resort was clean and spacious. The Infinity pool was nice. There were a limited number of lounge chairs at the pool but we had no problems finding available ones. The beach is small, but we just sat by the pool and were happy. The OWBs do block your view of the ocean unfortunately, but we didn't mind, it was still peaceful and the scenery was still nice. They offered free snorkel gear and kayaks for guests.

BOTTOMLINE:
We would stay at the Pearl again if the price/deal was good. But we would also consider trying another resort on Moorea.

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
2  Thank luckyjade77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 April 2008

My husband and I recently returned from our honeymoon in French Polynesia. It included 2 nights at the Intercontinental in Papeete, a 10-night Tahitian Princess cruise, and 3 nights at the Moorea Pearl. The entire honeymoon was incredible, and we especially loved the Pearl.

After leaving the cruise, we took the ferry and then our transfer to the Pearl. It is an absolutely beautiful hotel. We toured the other large hotels on Moorea, and thought the Pearl was the best. We originally were booked in an overwater bungalow, but upon checking in, we asked if any premium OWBs were available. They were able to upgrade us for just $50/night, and it was well worth the cost. I highly recommend doing that. The room was gorgeous!

Everything in the room was really new, and the view off of our deck was breathtaking. I’ve read some reviews of the premium OWBs indicating that they weren’t very luxurious, but for my husband and I, the room was absolutely perfect and very luxurious. In addition, because we were on our honeymoon, our room had a bottle of champagne waiting for us when we checked in, which we thoroughly enjoyed that evening. It was such a thoughtful gesture.

The only downside to the room was the shower. It was a bit hard to stand under, as it was positioned right up against the wall. However, the entire bathrooom is huge, so the shower issues was minor.

After checking into the hotel, we walked to Carmeline’s for lunch and then the grocery store. Thanks to all the research I did and the advice of my travel agent, I knew that the food would be expensive and Carmeline’s would be our best choices for our meals. We spent the rest of that first day relaxing and exploring the hotel.

On our next day in Moorea, we started with an early breakfast on our balcony with croissants from Carmeline’s and then rented a car at Alberts, which has a little booth across the street from the Pearl. We drove around the island, which was fun. After that, we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing on our deck and snorkeling in the water. The water off our OWB was quite deep and had an amazing abudance of fish. From our deck alone, we saw four large octopus, two moray eels, and numerous types of fish.

The next day, we went on an early 2-tank dive with Blue Dive located at the Pearl. They took great care of us, and we had two great dives. On both dives, we saw lemon and black tip sharks, turtles (including a huge, adorable turtle named Janine), a hundreds of fish. We had a great time. The only downside to the diving is that they shoot a video that you can purchase after the dive. However, they charge over $200 for the DVD, which was way too pricey for us and everyone else on the dive boat. The dive shop would have been better off charging just $100 or less, and they would have made some actual money on it that day. Oh well. After diving, the afternoon was spent just like the others: relaxing, reading, snorkeling, etc.

On our final day in Moorea, we were supposed to check out at 11am. Early in the AM, we inquired about late check out, but were told we’d have to pay a fee to use the room for the rest of the day. We had already spent enough money, so we declined. However, when we were in the process of bringing our bags to the front desk at 11am, the manager of the hotel said she could give us the room until 3:30pm for no extra charge. We were so excited, and it was like having a whole extra day on our vacation. After hearing about this, we walked to Carmeline’s, and on the way there spotted a roulette (Ma Poulette) selling pizzas and roasted chickens. We bought a roasted chicken for lunch and pizza for dinner (both were very cheap and DELICIOUS). After that, we stayed in our bungalow until 3:30pm, and then checked out. We were greeted by the same driver from Alberts and taken to the ferry dock where we took the trip back to Papeete and then to the airport.

At the airport, there is very little food available, so we had with us the pizza that we’d bought from the roulette. We ate the pizza while waiting for our flight, and many of our fellow passengers looked on with envy. I highly recommend bringing food with you to the airport. After the wait at the airport, we boarded our plane to LAX. Upon arriving in LAX, we were supposed to have an 8 hour layover, but we ended up flying standby on an earlier flight and having no wait at all. We were back in DC by the time our original plane was supposed to depart LAX.

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank kafunder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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